We here at BaltimoreRavens.com got debating the NFL Network's Top 100 All-Time list and the current ranking of Top 100 of 2011.
So Mike Duffy and Ryan Mink decided they would take on the arduous task of ranking the all-time Ravens. But with the franchise only being around since 1996, we decided it would be best to go with 50 instead of 100.
After much debate, Duffy and Mink came to a consensus list. We gave you numbers 41-50 last week and will continue to present 10 players at a time over the next couple weeks.
The criterion for ranking the players is their contribution to the Baltimore Ravens, not their career accomplishments. Thus, for example, while Deion Sanders is one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game, his two twilight years in Baltimore landed him at No. 47 on our list.
Of course, there will be widely different opinions on the order of the list, and your take is appreciated and encouraged. We loved your comments on the last edition.
Our hope is to spark some debate and relive some great Ravens memories in the process. Use the all-time roster to help make your choices. Without further ado, the second edition of the Ravens All-Time Top 50:
Top 50: No. 50-41
No. 40: CB Samari Rolle, 2005 – 2008
Rolle was a Pro Bowler before he got to Baltimore (2000 while with the Tennessee Titans) and immediately established himself as a veteran starter opposite Chris McAlister for four seasons. He started all 32 games his first two years, then had a neck injury in 2007 and eventually was forced to retire after battling epilepsy. The courageous leader logged 136 tackles, eight interceptions and 32 pass deflections as a Raven.
No. 39: RB Willis McGahee, 2007 – 2010
In McGahee's first season with the Ravens, he earned a Pro Bowl bid after finishing fourth in the AFC with 294 carries for 1,207 yards. Then, when the Ravens began getting Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain more carries, McGahee graciously took on a different role as Baltimore's short-yardage back. The Miami product has thrived, posting a combined 14 touchdowns in 2009 to tie the Ravens' record and six last year.
No. 38: P Sam Koch, 2006 – 2010
A fifth-round draft pick, Koch has been a weapon for the Ravens. The Nebraska product owns franchise records in career gross punting average (43.7 yards per game) and net punting (38.1), and his 149 punts inside the 20-yard line since 2006 are second-most in the NFL and tops in Ravens annals. Koch was a Pro Bowl alternate last year, but it is only a matter of time before he receives the full honor annually.
No. 37: G Ben Grubbs, 2007 – 2010
Extremely reliable, Grubbs is nearing the top of his position. The former first-round draft pick was named a Pro Bowl alternate the past two seasons. Grubbs became a starter in his fifth NFL game and hasn't missed a start since along the left side of Baltimore's line. He's athletic, strong and a technician along the line, helping the Ravens remain one of the league's top rushing units.
No. 36: DE Anthony Weaver, 2002 – 2005
In 2002, the Ravens traded up four spots in the NFL Draft to nab the guy they wanted, this 6-foot-3, 300-pound Notre Dame product. Weaver delivered as the Ravens switched to more of a 3-4 defense, starting 54 of the 57 games he played during his four-year tenure. Toe and back injuries limited Weaver in 2005, and he went on to sign a lucrative contract with the Houston Texans. But, his ability to hold the edge while still contributing to the pass rush made him a key part of Baltimore's defense.
No. 35: DE Trevor Pryce, 2006 – 2010
After signing as a free agent following nine seasons and four Pro Bowls in Denver, Pryce immediately boosted the Ravens' pass rush. Blessed with an uncanny combo of size and quickness, Pryce notched a career-high 13 sacks in 2006, helping Baltimore claim its first AFC North crown and the No. 1 ranking among NFL defenses. Pryce also led the team in sacks in 2009 (6.5) before being gradually replaced as a starter and released last season. He was scooped up by the New York Jets.
No. 34: QB Steve McNair, 2006 – 2007
The late McNair's time in Baltimore was brief, but it was productive. Signed in 2006, the former Tennessee Titan immediately led the Ravens to a franchise-best 13-3 record and AFC North title. McNair was a general on and off the field, earning locker room respect from the beginning, and his 3,050 passing yards that year were then the second-most in Ravens history. McNair injured his groin early in the 2007 campaign and never fully recovered, but his No. 9 jersey was etched in Charm City.
No. 33: WR Michael Jackson, 1996 – 1998
Jackson had a magical season in the Ravens' inaugural year. He was on the other end of 76 Vinny Testaverde passes and turned it into 1,201 yards. His 14 touchdowns that season were tied for the most in the NFL with San Diego's Tony Martin. Jackson scored just four more touchdowns over his next two years, but still put up 918 yards receiving in 1997. He and Derrick Alexander were a dynamic combo.
No. 32: FB Le'Ron McClain, 2007 – 2010
There haven't been too many fullbacks that can do all McClain can. When Willis McGahee was banged up in 2008, McClain rumbled for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns as the primary back. He has returned to more of a blocking role the past two years, but still featured top-notch hands for a big man, hauling in 21 receptions each season. The 2009 Pro Bowler's blocking shouldn't be underestimated because it's punishing. He's simply one of the elite fullbacks currently in the game.
No. 31: OLB Jarret Johnson, 2003 – 2010
Not too many players epitomize the spirit of the Ravens as much as "Double J," whose toughness and tenacity are highlighted characteristics. A fourth-round draft pick in 2003, Johnson came into the league as a 295-pound defensive tackle, and now, he's one of Baltimore's most-reliable linebackers. Always near the top of Ravens tacklers, the Alabama product hasn't missed a start in four years, often playing through painful injury..